Letter from Beirut: Return to the Dark Ages

14 July 2006

ei_highwayhole.jpg

Pictured is a large hole in a major street in the municipality of Ghobeiry in Dahyeh the southern suburbs of Beirut. Major roads and highway infrastructure throughout the Ghobeiry municipality were targeted throughout the past 48 hours seriously damaging the civilian infrastructure of the area. (Stefan Christoff/Mohamed Shublaq)


July 14th, Evening update — Well the entire Daahiye is debilitated…they have been bombing all day long…the Israeli birds and sea vultures are no longer limited to nocturnal activity. They completely obliterated the roads even more than before south and east…now they are beginning with the north…

The airport building itself was also hit whereas before it was limited to the runways… they fixed the take off runway earlier on Thursday and 5 planes took off loaded with passengers before the Israeli planes hit it again and obliterated the airport building itself.

Hezballah headquarters was hit before nightfall and they retaliated by hitting the Israeli ship that launched the 2 missiles. From then on it has been a complete bombardment. The funniest thing was the firework (real ones for Bastille Day) celebration in the streets alongside the missiles for the air and sea. Hezballah were so happy about hitting the ship they were celebrating in the streets. I see no end in the future unless the international community steps in. We are completely powerless… there are no police or army on the streets… everyone is afraid.

Nasrallah made a completely suicidal speech three hours ago. A taxi ride across the northern border rose to $400. Thank God they opened the border to US citizens though…they are letting any and everyone come across, even the guest workers from Sri Lanka and the Philippines without papers.

I know you are all getting crazy images on the news, but where I am and most of my family it is safe. Unfortunate to say though, it is because we are in a Christian neighborhood. I left my apartment in Hamra and am staying at my uncles in Achrafieh, Sassine to be exact for those of you who know. We are on the top of the hill on the 13th floor with a clear view of the entire city. We can see everything from here. My pops and the whole family were here for dinner and the news… they all went to their prospective homes without power or water. I am spending the night here just to be close to family and around people. Last night I was alone in my building since everyone else was away on vacation, fled to Syria or left up north to the mountains so I came here to be with the family.

Just to fill you in: Gilles and Said took a cab to Tripoli and crossed the north Lebanon Border late this afternoon and are in Syria now on their way to catch a plane out of Amman in Jordan.

Carinne and her family left, via Zahleh in the Bekka, for the border to Damascus and from there they are going to Jordan as well. They were some of the last to leave on that border before everything was destroyed.

The Eastons are here at their apartment in Hamra and do not plan on going anywhere else. Houda and her family are here as well.

Oh and for Robin and Sean stuck in Jordan… don’t worry Fairuz was postponed!

It is funny how you get used to the blasts… I can’t even keep count today there are so many… kind of like the schooling effect of fish… so many at once you get disoriented and can’t differentiate between the individual and the mass.

Gonna send this off while the connection lasts. Phones are still working but the lines are flooded so keep the calls coming.

I honestly think summer school at ACS will close so I may have a long vacation now… any suggestions on where to meet up to relax?

Keep in touch and keep us in your thoughts… talk to people about what is going on especially those of you in the States… your media coverage is quite disturbing from what I can see… very one sided and misinformed about the real issues…

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Beirut skyline, as seen through the lens of CNN. Media coverage in the US has been utterly abysmal when it comes to challenging Israel about the blatant targeting of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. (EI)


We are hanging in there though so don’t worry. If there is one thing about the Lebanese people is that we are used to dealing with unpredictable situations… I think it is a survival gene or something because even those who have not been brought up here have an innate adaptability characteristic.

The U.S Embassy is not giving any support or guidance as of yet and from what I know from other friends who were in similar situations in other regions we should not expect anything from them…

Sukleen trucks are out picking up the city trash. At least something is working.

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Renee Codsi is a 29-year-old Lebanese American who came to Beirut in June 2002. Codsi is a Marine Biologist and International Educator teaching environmental sciences and outdoor education at the American Community School of Beirut and coordinating an environmental and education program sponsored by NASA called GLOBE (Global Learning through Observations While Benefiting the Environment) in Lebanon.